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tv   Weekends With Alex Witt  MSNBC  February 25, 2012 9:00am-10:59am PST

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it is high noon in the east, 9:00 a.m. in the west. welcome to "weekends with alex wet." we begin with the top five on the web. nelson mandela in the hospital. big news for warren buffette today, rfkay son arrested and danica patrick makes history. just some of the stories trending right now. and we begin this hour with new details on the health of nelson mandela. the south african government says the former leader is resting comfortably after what's being called a diagnostic procedure. joining me from johannesburg is
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charlane hunter gault. you've been in touch with the people closest to the situation. what's the latest that you're hearing? >> pretty much what you said, there is some kind of procedure. there are all kinds of reports about exactly the kind, but what we do know is that the former president has been having severe pains in his abdomen and that is the reason he is in the hospital. whether there's been a procedure or surgery, we're not sure, but at least it had something to do with his abdomen and at this point the government is low keying it, saying that he's resting comfortably and that's pretty much all anybody is hearing at this point. >> charlane, is there anything anecdotally or otherwise that would suggest the serious nature of his condition or do you get a sense the government is telling you what they think this is under control? >> reporter: well, i think the government learned from the
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previous episode with mandela where he had a health issue and it just created mayhem and they're very much low keying it. of course, nelson mandela is 93 years old so any kind of procedure in the hospital is going to be difficult and if there was any insertion into his body, surely, he will have to remain in the hospital a little bit of time in order for them to follow his condition. so one of the things i'm hearing is that he might be in hospital for another couple of days, but again, this is not coming from the official government spokesperson. this is coming from people who are hearing different things from different people, but you have to be very careful with someone who is 93 years old no matter what kind of procedure it is, as long as they're in the hospital. >> absolutely. his last public appearance, as you know was a couple of years ago in 2010 this during the world cup soccer, i believe, held there in south africa. do we know in general what has
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health has been like the last couple of years? >> reporter: well, i was told that, you know, there have been some episodes where he's not been doing well, but i've heard that in the last few days he's actually been quite healthy, that he's gaining a little weight and that his condition has been generally pretty good. so this has come as a surprise to many south africans for as you say for the last couple of years and the last few months he's been at his home, traditional home, and only came to johannesburg in the last few weeks and it's been very, very quiet, but everything that i'm hearing about him is that up until the news that we got today that he entered the hospital this morning his condition has been very good. you know he's a strong warrior, as we know, from his 27 years in prison when he emerged, he looked fantastic. he's used to overcoming these
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difficult medical challenges. >> yours is a voice we will listen to as you've known him for the last 30 years. charlayne hunter-gault. we'll see you next hour. >> for more on his hospitalization head to our website, msnbc.com. >> we have this breaking news out of afghanistan. >> that is mayhem from today. the taliban is claiming responsibility for the shooting deaths of two americans inside the afghan ministry. a ministry source says the victims are believed to be u.s. military officers. the taliban says those deaths were a planned retaliation for the koran burnings at a nato military base. five days of deadly protests have erupted around the country, response to those burnings. we are bringing you a live report from afghanistan at the half hour. let's go to politics now, the leading contenders for the republican presidential nomination are campaigns today.
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mitt romney and rick santorum are ahead of tuesday's crucial primary in the wolverine state. the new nbc news-maris poll shows romney with a slight advantage over santorum. here's what he had to say about his home state and the president. >> we used to call it a one-state recession for ten years. now it's a national burden. he has nothing to say about our deficit or our debt. nothing to say about how to get working again and nothing to say about our debt and nothing to say about medicare and social security being seen. this man is out of ideas. he's out of excuses. in 2012 we're going to get him out of the white house. >> nbc's ron mott is joining me from troy, michigan. ron, good day to you. what kind of reception is romney getting from the michigan voters today? >> reporter: hey there, alex. good day to you. he's hoping not to get a frosty reception much like it is out here. we do need heat here in detroit
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and compliment of these two candidates. big fight for votes in michigan and the primary for tuesday. rick santorum hasec intoen and left this venue and lit a fire under this crowd, a mostly conservative crowd. this is a crowd that mitt romney has had a hard time attracting, the sharpest language we've seen from rick santorum about mitt romney saying why would this party put up a candidate that the party is not excited about amp camping for. one day he'll tell you one thing and the very next day something else and the crowd seemed to response to that. mitt romney will come here and he has to wiggle through the fact that he did not support the auto bailouts while supporting, as rick santorum pointed out, the bailout of wall street. that's a message that is not sitting well with this largely conservative crowd and both of these gentlemen are trying to get that vote. as you mentioned, alex, the latest msnbc poll with governor romney showing a slight lead for all practical purposes. this is a dead heat and candidates and campaigns know that and they'll fight to the finish to try to win this race
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here on tuesday. for mitt romney, this is his birth state. his father was a governor here and his father was ceo of american motor. it will be a psychological vote to his campaign. he seemed to slow down that momentum that he carried out of his three states on february 7th and going into super tuesday he will need to somehow re-energize his base for super tuesday. a lot at stake here in michigan, alex. back to you. >> ron mott, you get inside from the snow there. >> for a bit more on the two big primaries, tuesday in minnesota. i am joined by reid wilson and phyllisia with "the washington post." good day to you. we'll do a ladies first here, felicia. it seemed to be overshadowed by the visual there, that somewhat empty detroit lions stadium, not necessarily a good visual. do you see this as being another
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misstep for the romney camp? >> it's definitely not the kinds of headlines they want to be drawing here a couple of days out from the michigan primary. the thing to remember is the romney campaign knew that this event was going to be happening for days now. so to see this misstep happen on an event that was built on a major speech for him is a pretty big surprise to look at other side of things. rick santorum held an event on tuesday in arizona where he drew about a sixth of the crowd where he had 200 people, in a venue that was also very big and looked similarly empty, but the fact that he didn't tap that as a major speech, this wouldn't be a major economic event for this campaign. something like that went with unnoticed by santorum. this was a big deal for them and you would think that they would have been a little bit better prepared to look at the visuals about how this is coming across to people? he certainly would. reid, romney is getting attention for the statement he made about cars during that speech. let's take a listen to that.
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>> i drive a mustang and a chevy pickup truck and ann drives a couple of cadillacs, actually, and i used to have a dodge truck, so i used to have all three covered. >> a couple of cadillacs part there. is this romney stepping on his momentum again with statements like that, reid? >> this is just another example of mitt romney sort of missing the connection with the average, everyday voter. someone who works in high finance is not necessarily going to be easily in touch with the average american who is struggling to find a job or something. sort of casually mentioning the five cars that you have and the two cadillac that your wife happens to drive right now say little like, i was reminded like very early in the campaign when he was down in florida and he was talking to a bunch of unemployed americans and he said something like, well, i'm unemployed, too. he didn't bother to mention he was unemployed because he could retire and was able to afford it. this is another one of those
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moments where romney is slightly out of touch with the average american. that's going to find its way into a dnc or an obama web video or television advertisement, something where they'll have fun needling this candidate which isn't necessarily right there with the average american. >> i guess it's better than if you'd said something like a couple of ferraris or porsches. >> only a little bit, right? >> felicia, so among all of the early and absentee voters in michigan, zee 49% who have gone for romney as opposed to 26% of santorum. give me a sense of the advantage that gives mitt romney or are these early and absentee votes insignificant? >> it gives an advantage for the late gaffes that he's making heading into this race that sort of blunts the impact of those, but it's definitely worth remembering. this is going to be a contest between organization on the romney camp side and enthusiasm on the santorum campaign side. you look at romney has an
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organization that he built up in the state four years ago which he won in the primary. he's got plenty of local and state officials backing him. he has campaign offices there. he's very much organized on the ground. you look at santorum on the other hand and he doesn't even have a national headquarters, much less a michigan operation. the thing he has going for him in the state is the fact that as you mentioned the tea party supporters there, hugely enthusiastic about them and any time you talk to the voters who were most likely to turn out in the conservative base. most of the time they are far and away on santorum's side. when it comes to tuesday, that's going to be a big theme heading into the race. >> he has the advantage of relentless energy. he's campaigning hard in michigan and he's speaking in lincoln park. he did that last night in two more michigan cities. what is your read at this point? do you think rick santorum has a real shot at wing michigan? >> i think those early votes that you and felicia are talking about are huge. this is romney's big advantage
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and he's always done well in states where he can bank those votes early and then come back and focus his turnout machine on those that he can actually turnout on election day. that was thanks to a lot of those early votes. arizona and michigan in both cases early voting was going matter a lot. romney leading by just two points looks like it will be a close race, but i think this race has shifted back to mitt ad a terrible debate performance. as the front-runner he didn't step up and sort of grabbed that role by the collars. he sort of let his opportunity slide away. the momentum has shifted back to romney. i think rom neil end up winning by four or five points and the poll shows it about tied and it shows santorum leading by a wide margin. the momentum is on mitt romney's side.
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>> seesaw poll leadiing leading election day. >> again, the michigan and arizona primaries are up next on the campaign calendar. they will be held this tuesday february 28th. washington state will cubing us a week from today on march 3rd and 11 states are holding primariys and caucuses on super tuesday, that is march 6th. douglas kennedy, the son of the late senator robert kennedy is facing charges after an arrest in a new york hospital. surveillance video from last month showed kennedy carrying his 3 day old babe toe try to go outside for a walk, but nurses tried to stop him and they say that kennedy twisted the arm of one nurse and knocked another to the ground. kennedy's lawyer denies that. >> mr. kennedy was acting very quietly, politely, calmly. the only reason why anything happened here was because of the misconduct of two nurses. >> a spokesperson for the westchester county district attorney says charges have been filed against douglas kennedy
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for child endangerment and for allegedly attacking those nurses. warren buffett in the news today. in fact, as we told you, he's number two on our first five web stories and here's why. the billionaire says his company, berkshire hathaway, has identified his successor. he offered these details today in his annual letter to the berkshire shareholders. buffett is not naming names. he emphasizes he has no plans to leave. buffett says the berkshire board is enthusiastic about the person he has picked. we'll have that and more here on "weekends with alex witt." ok, guys-- what's next ? chocolate lemonade ? susie's lemonade... the movie. or... we make it pink ! with these 4g lte tablets, you can do business at lightning-fast speeds. we'll take all the strawberries, dave. you got it, kid. we have a winner. we're definitely gonna need another one. small businesses that want to grow
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that an israeli attack on iran
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could then ultimately lead to the collapse of the jewish state. iran's defense minister today said that israel's on the verge of dissolution. his staples come as inspectors from the international atomic energy agency says iran has been ramping up its enrichment of urani uranium. this increases concerns about iran producing an atomic weapon. former u.s. ambassador to morocco, mark ginsburg. good to see you. good morning or good afternoon. >> good afternoon, alex. >> look, let's talk about what you make about this threatening statement by iran's defense minister about israel? >> this is just a long line of threats against israel that go back for years, denials of israel's right to exist and the escalation of tensions between iran and israel are reaching a boiling point. recent attempts to assassinate israeli diplomats and police in georgia from which i just came a few days ago as well as in new delhi, and of course, the
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overall stake of the situation based on iran's nuclear ambitions. >> so the u.n.'s nuclear watchdog agency, the iaea, says its report that iran has sharply increased its uranium enrichment. so what does that mean for gathering enough material for a nuclear weapon? >> alex, the iaea inspectors were there last week. they were invited in by the iranian government and then denied access to the facilities that they wanted to inspect, and the iranians denied entering into any understanding that would allow these inspectors to continue their work. >> can i ask something? why do they do that? why do they bring them in and then say, well, you can't go there. we're not going give you access to something. what is that? >> it's part of their bait and switch strategy. there's five plus one talks going on in istanbul right now, that is negotiations where the iranians claim they're engaged in negotiations, but they know that these inspectors can get
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too close to the holy grail and actually uncover factual evidence that they've enriched enough uranium to weaponize a nuclear weapon or to have gone to the point where they actually know how to produce a nuclear weapon. >> you know, this iaea report also says that iran has failed to give a convincing explanation about a certain quantity of missing uranium. that might be used for experiments in arming a nuclear missile. >> indeed. both of us are not nuclear scientists, but it's not difficult for our viewers to understand that iran has reached an important threshold. they now have enriched enough uranium and have mastered the art of enriching enough uranium that they have gone far beyond any peaceful program. they've reached into the territory where they can actually produce enough uranium to build a nuclear weapon. >> so diplomatic resolutions, is there anything that can be put on the table that you think can solve this? >> of course, you know, the dip
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the mas are going to keep trying, but let's be real and realistic here about what the israelis understand. the israelis are convince that iran with a nuclear weapon is an existential threat. they have separate timetables here over determining how much the threat is proceeded. theis ryllis believe that if iran has enough uranium to enrich that as a red line. the american, however, believe iran has to prove that it can produce a nuclear weapon and that's the americans' red line and that's why there is a disagreement between israel and the united states over how much time to give the iranians to prove that they're prepared to step down the ladder or gone over the red line. >> because how for do you believe the iranians are from building a nuclear bomb. >> based on everything that i'm seeing and everything that i'm hearing, they have enriched enough uranium now to take that uranium and put it into that
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device. they have a former soviet scientist working with them to weaponize that uranium. they're less than six months away from mastering the ability to test a nuclear device. >> wow. very sobering. former u.s. ambassador to morocco marc ginsburg. thanks so much. >> good to be with you, alex. >> we'll hear from former secretary secretary tom ridge about the threat to the u.s. homeland and that's coming to you at 1:30 eastern time. newt gingrich's multimillion dollar money man. a new profile of him looks inside his empire and we'll talk to the author next here on "weekends with alex witt." ♪ ♪ i had enough of feeling embarrassed about my skin.
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>> i happen to be here for some reason. and that means you have to be here for some reason, too. >> a scene from martin scorcese's "hugo" one of nine movies up for best picture at tomorrow night's academy awards. the night will no doubt be one of the biggest nights for social need wra. this year's host bill crystal is tweeting to promote tomorrow's telecast, but they'll have to go i long way to surpass the super bowl's social media buzz with more than 12 million comments. >> late night with jimmy fallon devised a system called if puppies could works. each puppy represents a different film that was nominated in the best picture category. now the big moment from last night's show. >> whichever puppy reaches that bowl first will win the best picture. puppies, are you ready?
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claiming responsibility for the shooting deaths of two americans believed to be u.s. military officers. these victims were reportedly killed inside the afghan ministry and the taliban is saying those deaths were indeed a planned retaliation for the koran burnings at a nato military base last weekend. nbc's atia abawi is joining us from kabul. let's talk about these two victims. do we know who they are and what transpired leading to their deaths. >> reporter: hi, alex. what we do know is very little information we have gotten from officials from here and the pentagon in washington, d.c. they were military officers one was a colonel and the other was a major. they were work as advisers side by side along the afghans trying to train them and trying to build up their government and their military forces here. what we've heard is there were gunshots within the offices where those advisers were
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staying. an afghan military official heard the gun shot, ran into the room and saw their dead bodies on the ground, but the gunmen had gone. so right now it is an unknown gunmen, neither the afghan government or nato will let us know what the nationality was. many do suspect that it might be an afghan in retaliation to the burnings earlier this week and that's exactly what the taliban said. they said they were responsible for today's killings, it was one of their men that went in and it was retaliation for the burning of the korans that we saw earlier in the week. >> pretty devastating, two people like that, but a colonel and a major. very high ranking. nbc's atia abawi, thank you for the report. >> nelson mandela is resting comfortably in the hospital. he went went a diagnostic procedure for several abdominal pains. the procedure was planned and it is not know emergency. mandela could be released
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tomorrow or monday according to the latest reports. now to syria where the battle is tail raging between opposition forces. some people in the town of homs have been evacuated by the red crescent, but there is no sign that syrian government forces will end the attacks on the city. in tunisia the u.s. and 60 other nations are meeting right now. they want a cease-fire and they're asking the united nations to start planning forra i future peacekeeping mission. let's go to strategy talk now. a new poll suggesting the gop of 2012 may do nothing, but hurt the republican winner. in fact, the biggest benefactor of the gop primary may be the president himself with the latest poll showing him beating all four republican candidates. joining me now is jen socky, former deputy communications director for president obama and senior vice president at global strategy group and brett o'donnell, former with michele bachmann's presidential campaign and most recently debate adviser for mitt romney.
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thank you for joining me. >> good morning, alex or good afternoon. >> just a little bit in the afternoon here. let's talk about kathleen parker who has this column in "the washington post" who says rick santorum is president obama's dream candidate and stands no chance against candidate obama. who does the white house want to run against? >> well, both candidates have significant achilles heels and what kathleen parker talked about is santorum, the fact that his positions on social issues are far outside of the mainstream and it feels like every time he opens his mouth to talk about social issues he says something that's offensive to the majority of women in this country, but mitt romney also has a significant achilles heel and that is his inability to connect with middle class voters. you were talking about this earlier in the show. so, you know, the reality is the democrats, president obama doesn't get to pick who the nominee is, but he'll be ready to face whomever it is and we'll see what happens down the road the next couple of months.
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>> you know, brett, jen eludes to this how mitt romney is getting attacked with less than 72 hours left until the primary. what is it that you tell him to do now to ensure that he wins. >> i think it's stay on offense meaning that yesterday governor romney rolled out his economic plan, and i think that that makmake s a strong argument that's in stark contrast to the president in terms of taxes and economic policy. it's reliant upon the free market to get the economy turned around, to put more money into americans' pockets including the middle class which will help create jobs and stimulate the economy and turn it on to free market principles. i also think he stays on offense against the other candidates as well which he's been doing against senator santorum and keeps making his case for why he's the best person to lead the country back to prosperity. >> but, brett, what does he do about the way he comes off and the reports people perceive him
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as being stiff and awkward and uncomfortable. you coached him for a debate. what is he really like? >> he really is actually a warm person who is a very dedicated family man. he's got a very interesting story, and i think that's what he needs to do out in the public is tell his story, tell the experience that he's got beyond business to help shape his life. >> we keep hearing that, brett. he'll say the words, sometimes the wrong words talking about his wife ann's two cadillacs that she drives. a lot of people can't relate to that, but just overall, why is it that he doesn't relate to the average person out there? >> well, i don't know if it's that he doesn't relate to the average person. i think it's a matter of just, you know, sometimes he overthinks how he communicates and really worries too much about the individual words rather than just talking from the heart, and i think that if -- you saw him do it some yesterday, talked about experiences with his dad. i think those things are entrees
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into who mitt romney really is. i think he's going to be the nominee and once he get into the general election against obama, people will get to know who mitt romney is versus the candidate. >> jen, there's this report that's out from stanley greenberg and james carville that says the president's message that america is back, that it's falling flat with voters and they say claiming that america's back is by far the weakest operative message and produces disastrous results. a third of respondents said that this message makes them less likely to support barack obama. how does the president go about inspiring hope without himself seeming out of touch? >> well, look, what the president's message is is that he believes in america. he believes that the products made in america are the best in the world and he believes that we can do more for the middle class to fight for them. so ultimately, i don't know if they're quite on target in what they tested in their poll for what the president's message is,
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because what we know is that this election when there is a republican nominee is going to be about who each of the candidates, the president and the republican nominee are fighting for and the president has been articulating out there what he would do for the middle class, what he would do for jobs and the economy, what he will do for renewable merge and that's what he'll talk about in the coming months leading up to november. >> what about the auto bailout? how important is the message to the president or the blue collar voters in general. >> it's important in michigan, but it's important nationally. i was in the white house when the president made the decision to continue to bail out the auto industry. it showed he had the courage to do what was right and not what was politically popular at the time and now, today, three years later, nearly three years later, more than 1 million jobs up and down the supply chain are supported by the auto bailout. this is an example of the president's leadership and his foresight, and i think we'll continue to hear more from the democrats and more from him in
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the coming months. >> the republican nominee, how does one person counter that argument. >> i think it's pretty easy. you use the facts. it's not what the president will do for the middle class. it's what he's done to the middle class. this administration promised that unemployment would never go above 8%. it's still way above 8% and especially if you factor in people who are either underemployed or who have just given up. and, you know, there are other economic factors out there, too. housing, the housing market is still hurting. there will be a lot of things that this president's going have to explain particularly in overspending a trillion dollar deficit again when he promised to eliminate deficit spending. this president's got a lot of explaining to do when it comes around to the general election. >> we thank brett o'donnell and jan for explaining their positions today. thank you, guys. let's take a look at where the candidates are today, and mitt romney has special events scheduled throughout michigan and rick santorum heads to
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tennessee for a tea party event and ron paul, and he will head back to michigan later tonight. and newt gingrich's super pac with cassic ones to las vegas is the a social conservative and he's a fierce ally of israel and takes a hard line against unions. he revived gingrich's campaign when he and his wife donated $1 million to a super pac in january. he's made another sizeable donation. he said he might even give gingrich's pac $100 million and he could, he has a network estimated at $25 billion. he's the eighth richest person in america, the 16th richest in the world. so who is sheldoned aelson? there say profile in "forbes" magazine and a look at what they call the most influential people in the world. good day to you.
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thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me. i appreciate it. >> who is this guy? >> he's the chairman and ceo of las vegas sands. he runs the venetian casino in las vegas, but the real action is in asia. he's building a new las vegas strip in macau. he's one of the two casino owners. he's the largest international investor in china ever and one of the world's largest developer. he's built and run casinos the square footage, giequivalent of two empire state buildings. no american has madas much as he has under obama. more money than zishgberg, more money than gates and the late steve jobs and he still wants obama as part of the white house. >> you just answered the reason why he is the most influential men on the planet right now. with regard to the power he has over gingrich's policies, people wonder about where he would
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converge with that. >> two things. they're old girlfriends and $11 million he gave to keep gingrich going is nothing. >> for a millionaire it's the equivalent of spending two nights in one offed aelson's hotels. it's $400. to the average american it's filling up his gas tank. that's what he did. it's big to political people and toed aelson, it's just pocket change. they're old friends and he's an israeli hawk. he likes gingrich's support of israel. also he thinks america has turned to socialism. he's self made. he's a rags to riches story except he said his parents couldn't afford the rags. he thinks m is on the wrong track, and he'll support gibbing rich as long as gingrich stays in. he likes santorum. he likes romney. he hates paul. >> he wouldn't give him money, but he would the other two? >> whoever is the front-runner, whoever the gop picks he'll put his chips behind that person.
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maybe 100 million. >> he wants the end result is to put a republican back in the white house. do you think at this point, sheldon addelson, compared to how much he has it's still $len million and the reports are that another $10 million have been donated today. does he believe that newt gingrich has a chance? >> all of this stuff about whether it is a chess game by supporting gingrich is he hurting santorum? >> i think he's just doing to to make a stand and for him it's a no-lose situation. even if newt gingrich falls off, which he probably will. if he makes a phone call to romney or santorum they'll pick up that phone because they know this guy's a player. een n even now if he calls romney, he can pick up obama, it makes him a player on the world stage. >> quickly, did he meet with mitt romney in las vegas prior to the caucuses there? >> he said it's totally false.
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most of the stuff written about him is false. >> except about europe. >> i was in the room with him, 99% of the stuff written about him is not true. he likes romney. they have met before and he's there a lot, so they have some connections, but that alleged meeting where he met gingrich and romney the same day, he claims is false. >> fascinating article. thanks for sharing. >> thanks for having me. danica patrick in a milestone at the daytona speedway. patrick has won the pole position for nascar's first race of the season. it will be her first race as a full-time nascar driver and the first pole position for a woman in 18 years. go, danica! how about we make a big change for just a little money? let's start with a paint we know can do the job. new glidden duo paint plus primer
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ now let's take a look at what has changed and what hasn't after the headlines come and go. we call it "then and now." eight years ago today the record deficit was the top story. here's an except of david gregory's report from "nbc nightly news" in 2004 on code red warning from then federal reserve chairman alan greenspan. >> the fed chief warned today that the bush administration's projected $521 billion deficit for this year now threatens to short change social security. this is the baby boomer generation. >> the change is certain to place enormous demands on the nation's resources. demands we almost sure will be unable to meet unless action is taken. >> that was a big number. 521, if only, what a difference eight years make, two wars, one
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recession adding to it. earlier this month president obama's budget prediction predicted a $1.3 trillion for the ongoing fiscal year. the deficit would drop to $101 billion under the tax and spending policies. >> the academy award shows this weekend along with new movies in the theaters. here's a look at the film starring jennifer aniston and paul rudd. >> why are you not at work, george? >> i got fired. >> as soon as we can get back on our feet we'll come back to new york and right now my brother offered us a job and atlanta is the best place to be. >> that was "wanderlust." joining us now is amy palmer. good day to you. >> that was a funny scene right there, but is this a must see or must avoid. >> this is a must avoid. i wanted to like this movie and it's by judd apatow, unfortunately this falls short. they play a manhattan couple who
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happen to fall in love in a commune. it's fun to see that chemistry, but it just falls flat, so wait for it to be on demand. >> that's a bummer. let's move on to a film "act of valor." real navy s.e.a.l.s. looks great in the previews. >> i'll say this is a must see. it's a real glimpse into the life of a naily s.e.a.l. you see how their interactions are with their families. you get into a glimpse into the action that they have to engage and the sacrifice they make and for that reason alone i would say must see. not great acting, but it's a different spin on the action film. >> they're navy s.e.a.l.s and not paid actors. >> really interesting to watch. >> want to see it, that's for sure. >> let's talk about the oscars. >> i want to get your pick for best movie. what do you think? >> "the artist." >> totally agree. >> no other film out there. we had discussed how wonderful it is to see in a landscape full of cgi effects and things like
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avatar which is a beautiful movie, but this relies on talent and acting and dancing. it was just such a wonderful, refreshing film and i think it's a shoo-in. >> you're talking meryl streep and marla davis. >> i think meryl streep deserves it. i think we talked about her in "the iron lady." phenomenal. >> but viola davis will take it for "the help." she has all of the support for the academy and she will take best actress for sure. >> jean dujardin and george clooney. >> jean dujardin totally captured my heart. he is the french version of george clooney, but i don't think he should take it although he should. [ speaking french ] >> thank you so much, amy palmer. let's go to today's number ones. despite recent struggles, walmart is far and away the leader of a new list of the most valuable retail brands in america. the retailing behemoth leads
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again with the brand value of $139 billion. target ranks second with the value of almost $23.5 billion, but then home depot, cvs drugstores and best buy compl e completing out the top five. hawaii is the most popular state in the nation. sand, surf, sunny skies. colorado comes in second with the public policy polling survey followed by tennessee, south dakota and virginia. oh, and the least popular state, california by far, say what? republicans disliking the golden state most with only 12% having a favorable opinion. okay, i'm not sure why "men's health" magazine came up with this list, but it's ranking the cities with the most eligible women, places where they're educated, employed and in shape and where are they a plenty? washington, d.c. the nation's capital along with portland, maine gets an a-in those ratings. new york comes in fifth with an a-minus. the location getting a big, fast
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ now a few stories that caught my eye. a big change on the canadian side of niagara falls. after 165 years, the company that runs the maid of the mist boat tours lost its bid for renewal. a california company will be taking over with new boats in 2014. . [ speaking french ]
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that is french for want to buy a town? local villagers say the town has been abandoned since the mid-'09s and it comes with tennis courts and a pool. an 18-year-old high school football player with leukemia. kevin mcgwire of new jersey wanted taylor swift to come to his prom. his sister started a facebook campaign that attracted thous of supporters and late friday, swift, while saying no to the prom said yes to something else. she invited her to be her date at the academy of country music awards. he said that date will be ten times better than his prom. ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] offering four distinct driving modes and lexus' dynamic handling, the next generation of lexus will not be contained. the all-new 2013 lexus gs.
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well, we like you. [ laughter ] ♪ >> in the hospital, former south african president nelson mandela, the latest on his condition next. home turf, mitt romney in michigan. why is he struggling to win the wolverine state. >> in office politics, the ugliness of negative campaign ads and the one that might be
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the most memorable ever. >> and pumped up. how could gas prices be so high with americans driving less? good day, everyone. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." it is 1:00 p.m. on the east coast shg, 10:00 a.m. in the we he underwent diagnostic procedure for severe abdominal pains. joining me with the latest is charlayne hunter-gault. welcome back to the program. what's the latest you've heard on his condition? >> reporter: thank you. the latest i've heard is he's resting comfortably, that i understand the family members who were there have left the hospital, probably to just go home and refresh and maybe come back, but as of now the government has seized control of all of the information and the little bit that we're getting is that he is resting comfortably. >> okay. that's good to hear for right
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now. what about his medical history? i mean, is there cause for children that this may be a serious ailment? >> reporter: well, you know, who knows? when you're 93 years old even a cold could be serious, but mandela is a tough cookie. as you know, he was in prison for 27 years, about the only thing that you see -- you could see from that 27-year period is that he has problems with his eyes because of digging in the lime stone quarries and he had some chest issues as a result of tuberculosis, but other than that, you know, he's been remarkably healthy for someone who has had that kind of life for 27 years, and then, of course, he was very active once he got out of prison. in recent years he's had a couple of incidents and last year, i think this is the reason the government has seized this information on to itself so carefully. he was in hospital for a few
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days with something relating to that chest issue and the information was not handled very well. so i think the government has learned from that. they've got everybody calm and at the moment we hope that that means that he is calm and in good condition, at least the country is hoping that as well. >> i'd say the world is hoping that. may i ask if you know about any visitors? is he even receiving visitors? >> reporter: i would doubt it. my understanding are that his daughters were there at the hospital and probably misses michelle, his wife, for the past several years, and i would imagine that that might be the limit of it. i haven't heard that president zuma has been there. if he had that might be a little bit of cause for concern, but my understanding right now is that he's been mostly limited to the closest family members. >> all right. charlayne hunter gault, many thanks for staying with us from
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johannesburg and we look forward to you being with us. >> happy to be here. nato's top commander there says he is recalling all staffs working in ministries in the afghan capital after two american military officers were shot dead inside the afghan ministry. the taliban is claiming responsibility for those deaths. the terror group says the attack was a planned retaliation for koran burnings at a nato military base that has set off five days of deadly protests which continue around the country. let's go to politics now. the leading gop presidential contenders are in michigan. they're in troy ahead of tuesday's crucial primary in the wolverine state. a new poll shows romney shows romney showing a slight advantage over santorum and here's what he had to say about his home state and the president. >> michigan was a one-state recession for about ten years. now it's a national burden. he has nothing to say about our
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deficit or our debt. nothing to say about how to get working again, nothing to say about our debt and nothing to say about medicare and social security being seen. this man is out of ideas. he's out of excuses. in 2012 we're going to get him out of the white house. >> rick santorum criticized the gop field for folks seeking too much attention on attacking each other instead of the issues americans care about most. >> who is the best person to go at it and talk about the issues not play dirty politics and obfuscate and mislead and make hypocritical-types of charges and allegations against the candidates or spend money trying to drive the other side down, but who can create a positive, optimistic vision for americans to get behind? >> nbc's ron mott is joining me now from troy, michigan. let's talk about the reception that mitt romney's getting from michigan voters today. what's the temperature of that? chilly, warm or otherwise?
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>> i would say it was pretty warm. i left the room, alex and he just got up in the last few minutes and i left the room to come out here and i would say it is a warm reception and what they seemed to want to do here this afternoon is to remind people that this is their home. it used to be a given in politics and you run for national office and you can count on your home state, this will be a tough race for the finish on tuesday with the voters going to the primary here. he is in a neck and neck race with rick santorum. >> largely, it seems conservative problem and they're warming up to rick santorum's message about social values being as important as the economic recovery in this country, but mitt romney wants to do is remind folks that he's got the business experience, someone that can go to 1600 pennsylvania avenue with the plan for turning the country's economy around. yesterday he spoke at ford field about his economic plan. last night we were at a rick santorum event and he laid out what he thought would be his best attack in the first 100 days of a santorum presidency,
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but what rick santorum told the crowd today in some of the sharpest language we've seen yet about mitt romney is why should this party get behind the candidate that the party is not excited about, that they're not excited and what they don't know he actually believes. the one day he says this and the next day he says that and they hit him hard on the flip-flopping comment and they're attacking rick santorum is to say don't believe that this guy is a fiscal conservative. he hits him hard on his days in washington and he abused earmarks and it's part of his culture where earmarks were flying left and right into bills. this is going to be a very interesting finish and mitt romney clearly once and wants to win in his home state of michigan on tuesday. >> before i let you go, any of the romney camp inside there addressing the ford field faux pas yesterday when you had mitt romney with just a tiny crowd and the individual was not good. >> yeah. i think they want to put that
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issue to bed. one thing in their defense is that this was an event that was put together by the detroit economic club. they had planned to hold that event in the atrium of ford field which is a more intimate venue and the secret service provided protection for governor romney and decided that that was not the best place to hold that. so they put out on the football field itself. it was optically not something that the candidate probably wanted. >> ron mott, many thanks from troy, michigan. >> nbc news released the 2012 states maps. the key battleground states include, colorado, nevada, ohio, pennsylvania and virginia and joining me now is maggie hebertman and bloomberg news columnist and author of "the promise" jonathan. jonathan i'll get to the battleground map in just a moment, but first i want to ask about the upcoming primary in michigan on tuesday. how do you think this is going play out? >> this is a critical, critical
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four-day period for mitt romney. were that to end and were he to lose to rick santorum he'll be in a world of hurt. even if he wins he'll likely only win narrowly which won't be much of a jolt and momentum for him. so michigan is basically bad news for romney and the big problem for him is maybe that there are too many social conservatives in his native state for him to prevail there in any kind of a convincing way, particularly in the western part of the state. social issues have been in second place, alex, in his campaign and the economic issues, but in this particular primary they'll have more importance. >> what do you think about romney's chances, maggie, of winning and what happens to the rest of the gop field if he does not? >> if he does not win, i think you are going to see in case of emergency break glass-type of
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behavior from the gop establishment types. i think romney is going to win. i think as jonathan said it's likely to be narrow. he did get a boost out of the debate. if there were more time between the debate and the vote, i think santorum would come back, but i think santorum has no organization. i think, though, it is not going to be a huge win and it will not be treated by the media fairly or unfairly as a huge win and romney limps into super tuesday where he could have a bit of a tough day. there's a lot of southern states where he may not do that well. >> what about the effect of president obama, the uaw, and the super pac, negative ads there. what kind of effect is that having on mitt romney? because they're targeting him. >> i think it will have some impact. it is very hard to say how many democrats will come out and vote in an open primary. that's what they're looking to do, to counterbalance the vote on mitt romney. i think it will have some role and i don't think it will be worth more than a few point, but in a close election a few points matter. we'll see. >> they'd love to run against
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santorum. they think they could have a landslide win in november should santorum be the nominee. >> shouldn't they only recently tried to begin a game plan, a strategy for running against rick santorum? >> i think that's elevating him. as jonathan says they'll remain excited about the prospect of phasing him instead of mitt romney. i think they're looking at it realistically, but he would be much easier and to some extent they're trying to boost him publicly so this will keep the fight going. >> let's get to the electoral map you guys are talking about and i'll begin with you, jonathan, on that one. the dems have 277, gop, they have 197 and they leaves $114 in the toss-up column and a big increase since the lasts battleground map. it's a long way off. what do you think are the biggest concerns for the democrats right now? >> they hava i number of different combinations to get to where they need to be to win this election, but i would say
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the biggest concern is that given all of the good news that president obama has had, the good economic news, the fact that the gop seems to be shooting itself in the foot, you would think that he would be in better shape in some of these battleground states than he actually is and so there's a little bit of a concern that in this good phase they're not doing better, but they've got very good news that didn't get very much attention the other day. a young reporter named mckay collins, the buzz feed broke the story about how marco rubio, the senator from florida was a mormon when he was -- >> i saw that. >> -- when he was a young man. does that mean he definitely won't be on the ticket because they wouldn't want to put a former mormon and a mormon? not necessarily, he couldent up going on the ticket, but it complicates that for the romney campaign and if rubio is not on the ticket that doesn't help the republicans very much in florida and in nevada which is a heavily
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hispanic state. >> that is where he was a mormon, a practicing mormon and that was because he went with his family and he is now very devout catholic. that article took great pains to say. >> the article doesn't cast any as persians on his mormon faith. in fact, it was written by a mormon, but it just makes the simple point that as a political matter it's complicated and makes it more complicated to put marco rubio on the ticket. we were talking about the good news for the romney administration, gas prices and that is so not good right now. >> it is not good. >> it's a little early to say. i don't think gas prices alone is what settles the collection. it becomes a narrative and how people feel about how they're doing and it goes to jonathan's point. you would think the president is doing better than he is based on the good news that he has. i think voters will take a wait-and-see attitude and i don't think you'll see things moving in the general matchup and i assume we'll have a
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nominee, but not until we get to the fall. >> a fascinate thick on gas prices in that debate and it became a part of an iran context so if a rise in gas prices is seen as something that is just a necessary price to pay for the sanctions against iran, it won't hurt the president quite as badly as if they're seen as a reflection of his incompetence and putting gas prices in foreign approximately see context is very important for the obama camp. >> very interesting observations, jonathan and maggie, thank you. still ahead, is a reminder of osama bin laden's last stand, however, today it is beginning to disappear. they're on the road to record territory. why are these gas prices that i was just talking about with jonathan and maggie, why are they going up when americans seem to be driving a whole lot less. that's next. ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] this is lawn ranger -- eden prairie, minnesota.
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>> a new poll shows that a slight majority of americans view president obama as too liberal. the new usa today gallup poll finds that 51% of americans believe the president's political views are too liberal. at the same time 47% say they agree with him on the issues they care about. let's go now to the three biggest money headlines generating most buzz today. how do you feel? feeling groovy and running on empty? sarah gibbons is joining us to help us make sense of this. >> who made up those headlines? >> it wasn't me.
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there were better-than-expected reports on consumer sentiment. everyone feels pretty good, right? they had a new one-year high and people are feeling pretty good about the economy and the resilience of the economy and they've seen improvements on the job front and they've seen more advertise ams for jobs and overall things are being looking up. what about the stocks that ended the week next? the dow crossing 13,000 this week. it is significant. they were crossing eight times on friday. technically, it's not an important number, fundamentally it's not, but psychologically this is an important number and we haven't seen this number since before the financial crisis and it's very important, four month ago we were talking about the possibilities of a double dip. the economic data has been good and there's good news out of europe and the greece situation and the bailout plan has been agreed on for the second bailout plan. overall, people in general are feeling good and businesses are
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feeling more confident and the economy is doing better. >> we want to talk about gas prices. they're reportedly not going up as a result of supply and demand. >> you have different reasons for it going up. >> a lot of people are talking about the speculators. you have these wall street traders, right? pushing the prices higher and that affects us as consumers because when oil goes up they're trading in the futures market. we're at $110 a barrel. we're nearly $3.60 a gallon and in some places in new york and california they're over $4. analysts are saying $5 is not too far up. we went up 12 cents this week alone. >> tell me about it, i went to the gas station last night. >> thanks. >> next to office ol picks. the power of negative ads. why are they so effective?
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in this week's office politics we talked to donny deutch, and i talked to him about what he called the most frightening supreme court decision any how he earned the attention of a ledge endary artist and we begin with the inner workings of negative campaign ads. >> the reason why negative advertising works is because it's fact-based and people remember it. the unfortunate thing is that if i was going do an ad for a candidate it goes through less scrutiny than if i was doing an ad for a candy bar. i have to go through with the fcc and with the station clearances and if i'm selling a mars bar, they are going to be more scrupulous about how to dissect that ad, what i'm saying about the nougats versus doing an ad about barack obama. >> why is that? is that because of lawsuits and what happens --
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>> most of the advertising is local. 90% probably of all of the media spent on political is local. it's much less scrutinized and done fast and almost daily communications. other huge issue with political advertising is not the advertising itself. it's actually the supreme court. the ruling last week with the super pacs, the 5 to 4 ruling which basically said i can get together with ten friends and we don't like that candidate because he wants to tax oil companies and we all own oil companies. let's put dollar 2 billion negative ads against this guy and we don't have to say who we are, it is actually everything a democracy is not. it is, i think, the most frightening supreme court decision ever. it basically all our votes are not the same anymore. a rich guy's vote counts a lot more. that's scary stuff. >> it is very scary, but what can you do about that, and do you think the candidates are in
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sefr sync with that. >> i blame the supreme court. the problem lies in the laws. the only thing we can do in defense of it and i want to say it's general advertising, the consumer is not stupid. with the gingrich example, he used predominantly positive advertising and it was not enough. >> okay. >> that's what i'm saying. this is the game. this is the game. i mean, go back to horton, you know, probably it's not talked about a lot because it's ancient history now, the most effective, negative ad is the ad that lbj ran against barry goldwater and it was a little girl's voice picking daisies and it was if you vote for barry goldwater and all of a sudden -- boom, an atomic bomb goes off and the world will end. it was classic. it was positive. >> that worked, though. >> under the leadership of president reagan our country's prouder and stronger.
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>> they ran that toward the end. >> that was a close election that ad would not have run. >> i look around this office, do we have to talk about my existence. >> it's the spark of envy for so many. as i look at the art work behind you, my favorite thing is that paramount picture because i'm from los angeles. the home in which my parents still live. paramount is right by there. i used to cruise by paramount and seeing that makes me feel home. >> these are all drawings of advertising or commercialized things. as an ad guy i was always drawn to him as an artist and you have everything. he is so visionary, and it was interesting. i have a privilege early in my career, one of my accounts was the new york, new jersey, connecticut pontiac dealers and bear with me. this is coming back to this and we did a campaign where we would stop people on the street and
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one of the most exciting things that happened to you and we would stop doing local celebrities. >> and our offices in 1985, i got a call from andy warhol and the campaign was really cheesy and rough. he was the greatest example of modern pop culture and he wanted him in the end. i never knew that he would fall in art, and i collect art and warhol is my favorite artist and this is him, a self-portrait. >> it's a fun conversation, and we'll have donny share his gas price predictions and why he is the most cool, the coolest office politics guest yet. please! mid grade dark roast forest fresh full tank brain freeze cake donettes rolling hot dogs bag of ice anti-freeze wash and dry diesel self-serve fix a flat jumper cables 5% cashback right now, get 5% cashback at gas stations.
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it pays to discover. when we were determined to see it through. here's an update on the progress. we're paying for all spill related clean-up costs. bp findings supports independent scientists studying the gulf's environment. thousands of environmental samples have been tested and all beaches and waters are open. and the tourists are back. i was born here, i'm still here and so is bp. that's good morning, veggie style. hmmm. for half the calories plus veggie nutrition. could've had a v8.
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what ? customers didn't like it. so why do banks do it ? hello ? hello ?! if your bank doesn't let you talk to a real person 24/7, you need an ally. hello ? ally bank. no nonsense. just people sense. politics at the half hour now. a new report today suggests the campaign of newt gingrich is
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getting an injection of cash. several reports out today say casino mogul sheldon addelson has made a sizeable donation to the super pac supporting the former house speaker and that follows an $11 million contribution he made in january. he says he may donate as much as $100 million. i am joined by fred gandy. >> together again. >> we did a show a long time ago, but we'll get to that another time. how far does this cash infusion go to keeping gingrich in the fight locker. money doesn't necessarily mean votes. >> no, but what it does do is clearly give newt the momentum he needs to launch into super tuesday and that's been the long-term strategy for some time. you have georgia, tennessee, oklahoma and ohio decided on march 6th and that alone is like 240 delegates.
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my guess is some of that addelson money assuming it comes now will be invested in a lot of those super tuesday state snoops you didn't even mention what's coming up in 72 hours from now. michigan and arizona. what do you think the candidate has in a shot of either of those states and if he doesn't do well in those does it matter? he automatically goes to super tuesday? >> let me just say in michigan, i think gingrich wins in michigan even if he doesn't win michigan and most of his campaign advisers don't think he will, but look at the scenarios. let's say romney wins big and santorum is damaged, good for newt. let's say santorum wins big. romney is damaged and also good for newt. say that romney wirngs but not by a lot. also good for newt. so -- >> wait, how is that one also good for newt? because it remains pretty much a two-horse race between romney and santorum. say romney wins as you suggested by just a little bit over santorum. how is that good for newt?
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because romney is weakened in his own home state and newt said a couple of weeks ago if you can't win your own home state you should get out of race. that's not to say that romney won't do exactly what romney tells him to do. i don't expect him to start, but it will resonate throughout the media. people will be talking about why romney didn't do better. what kind of a threat conservative candidates are, so that is a net plus for the gingrich campaign going forward. >> so at this point i don't really see a down side to michigan. >> how about rick santorum, though, in terms of momentum, fred? how much is that taking the steam out of gingrich campaign? >> obviously, rick santorum has done very well, but rick santorum again, with newt represents that conservative element of the party that has been spoiling for a fight with the establishment's side of the party for years. this fight had to happen, alex, regardless of who the candidates
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were. so i think both santorum and gingrich know that as long as they continue to fight they represent an important component within the republican party going forward and during the primary season that is a fight that is important to take all of the way to tampa, because what you don't want is the heir apparent to bob dole and john mccain in 2012 and that's why i think i haven't had any communication with rick santorum, but i know from the gingrich point of view a conservative candidate is the goal in the primary regardless of how the media spins the race. >> fred grande in the race now talking about newt gingrich. thank you so much. good to see you. >> good to see you. >> thanks 37. mitt romney and rick santorum are hitting the campaign trail in michigan. romney's first stop, the city of lansing and his target, president obama. >> around the world you're seeing crises. you're seeing nations and whole
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regions in peril because of too much debt and we're headed for the same pathway, the same pathway that they've been on and yet he has nothing to say about our deficit or our debt. >> rick santorum's looking for a crucial win in michigan with the latest polls there showing him neck and neck with mitt romney. earlier today he atended a tea party rally. >> what i love about the tea party is you have citizen participation and it's more than just getting involved in politics. it's getting involved in understanding the basic roots of our country and what made our country great. >> later today santorum heads to tennessee, romney will be holding an event in flint, michigan. here's i a reminder that tomorrow on "meet the press" gregory will speak to rick santorum. >> nearly 10 months after u.s. commandos killed osama bin laden in a covert raid, pakistani authorities have begun to demolish the abbottabad
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compound. the compound is 80% demolished and local residents say the area has been cordoned off by security forces and police. on may 2nd of last year navy s.e.a.l. commandos conducted that nighttime raid, crossing into pakistan by helicopter without the government's knowledge. it was an embarrassment for pakistani authorities who denied knowledge of bin laden's presence and further tested the relationship with the united states. there are plans to build a park on the site and it should be completed within about a month. straight ahead in the big three, will rising gas prices really drive up republican polling numbers against the president? but before we go to break, check out the vice president's speech yesterday from north carolina, but look at the gentleman having some trouble staying awake during it. we've all been there, right? ironically, vice president biden was telling the audience that americans are tired of being told that we're in a long, slow drift. that guy surely was.
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a new usa today gallup poll shows republicans are more enthusiastic voting in this election. 53% say they're more enthusiastic compared to 45% of democrats. iran is showing more signs of becoming a growing threat to israel and even to the u.s. international inspectors have reported that iran has been increasing its enrichment of uranium which could be used to build a nuclear weapon. an attack on iran could lead to the collapse of israel. joining me now from washington is tom ridge, former secretary of homeland security who spoke at the conference today in the nation's capital about threats from iran. we are very good you're here.
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welcome. >> thank you for having me, alex. thank you. >> is military action by israel unavoidable at this point? >> it certainly seems that keeping that very visible and potential option on the table not just from israel and embraced by the western world is something that iran should take very, very seriously whether it's unavailable or not depends on a lot of different things. negotiations and the impacts of sanctions and iran needs to know unearning givicly, not justice rail's interest in there being a non-nuclear nation, that the broader western world and frankly, much of the arab world doesn't want them armed with nuclear weapons either. >> so if israel does attack iranian nuclear site, do you have an idea of what would happen immediately thereafter? >> they would call to speculate if they'll go after these sites and what the repercussions would be. everyone is doing their very,
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very best to ensure that the military option is not exercised but i frankly think that this country along with western allies need to send a much stronger message to the mule as and ahmadinejad that we are serious, that military option is one that if we need to exercise, we will, but in the meantime, there are so many other things we could be doing to tell iran they're serious and that is recognizing throughout the arab world and the legitimate democrat opposition and there is a group called the mek that we put on the terror -- a group of iranian democrats and sheltered in iraq who we promised to protect and we keep them when we took their weapons away from them and for whatever reason we have them on the terrorist list. they are pro-american and pro-nonnuclear and very much committed to an open, tolerant society ney iran and we consider them as terrorists. as we consider the nuclear
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option there are other things we need to do and one is to recognize, legitimate, democratic opposition either in iran or somewhere outside of iran. we haven't done that. it's amazing. >> what about iran's direct threat to the u.s. homeland? does iran have sleeper agents here? i think it would be foolish if we concluded given the openness of our society and the ability of people to move in and out if if they don't have sympathizers, they do have agents. let's see just a couple of months ago they had our fbi-recovered plots for the iranians to assassinate a saudi ambassador here in the united states so it seems to me that the fbi thought they had the capability to do that, and we'd be foolish to think otherwise. we'd be foolish to think that a country that has supported terrorism around the world, hamas, hezbollah is responsible with the assassination of the president of lebanon that is responsible for killing
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americans in afghanistan and iraq and the list is endless, we'd be foolish to think that we can negotiate our way. everything would be fine in a year or two. we must send a strong message about the potential use of the military and we must do as we've done in other countries from around the world, recognize those committed to democracy and for whatever reason, for whatever reason, this administration has failed to recognize the movement, and whether they failed to recognize the movements in '09 and 11, and it seems to me that that's one of the strongest messages we can send to iran. we're serious about the credibility and we're serious about the military option and if we have to use it, we will, and for the time being let's continue to keep the options on the table and i don't think we should be too hopeful about the negotiations. >> given the fact that you or the former director of homeland security, do you sleep well at night? and i don't mean this in a flippant way. do you worry about the potential
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of what may be coming down the road? >> i used to be asked that question from time to time when i was privileged to serve my country as secretary, and i used to tell people i slept well, i didn't sleep often. the fact of the matter is that this country, we have thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of men and women every day trying to make us more secure, keep us safe and protect this extraordinary existence that we have in this country, but what we don't have right now, in my judgment, is a strong enough message to the mullahs, a strong enough message to iran that not only the united states, but the rest of the world is prepared to support the use of a military option. we don't have a strong enough message to say we recognize those democratic groups within that country, iran and we recognize the group called the mek who for whatever reason have on a terrorist list and we don't even have the taliban on the
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list. there are a lot of pro-democrat people in iran and around the world. we need to recognize them like we recognize the forces that have been very responsible for changing government in the arab world over the past year. >> our former secretary -- >> there was a persian spring and we ignored it. it's about time we got back to supporting democracy in iran. >> all right, former secretary of homeland security tom ridge. >> thank you for the opportunity. it is time now for today's big three and the gas price is drives this discussion. fueling the fight, home field advantage and oscar picks. we'll bring in my panel, former white house deputy director for president obama jen socky, susan dell percio and maggie hebertman. >> republicans really are pressing the gas issue with prices climbing. president obama addressed the issue this week in miami. let's listen to this.
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>> we're not going overnight solve the problem of world oil markets. there is no silver bullet. there never has been and part of the problem is what politicians pretend that there is then we put off making the tough choices to develop new energy sources and become more energy efficient. we have to stop doing that. we don't have the luxury of pretending. >> so, jen, how concerned should the white house be about these rising gas prices? >> the president's been very concerned from the first day he took office about the impact of the constant ups and downs of gas prices on the middle class and that's why he's done two things, one is make a significant investment and call for a significant investment in renewable energy and the other is to call for an end in the $4 billion in oil and gas subsidies and theria a real contrast here and this will play out over the next couple of month, but the question is why are the republican candidanedidates opp
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the subsidy. we need a long-term strategy. >> maybe susan wants to address that question you're posing there and also, susan, can the republicans get any traction out of the gas issue? >> well, they can, to a point. unfortunately, right now with the fighting going in the primary, they're not able to make their case clearly about president obama, but the fact of the matter is is the president is the one who is held accountable, whether it's a democratic president or the republican president and come election day, if gas is near $5 a gallon, it's going to be devastating for them. >> do you agree with that, maggie? do you think in terms of this playing out gas prices is pushing five bucks a gallon, that's devastating to the president? >> i think it's hard to gauge it out that far, but i think that's very hard to separate that out for voters who will see that as an immediate pocketbook issue. if the gas prices are there, it's likely other economic indicators may be heading in a less than great direction also. so i do think this is a potential real problem for the
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white house. i think they're playing it as best as they can in trying to suggest we feel your pain, but we're not responsible, but that could be a very hard message to deliver. >> let's talk about field advantage for mitt romney in the state of michigan on tuesday. susan, i'll begin with you. if he loses, what does that say? >> it's going to be a tough loss. people are going to be really saying who can we get now. but chances are he's going to slug it out through the convention. >> what do you think? >> i think mitt romney will probably win on tuesday. there's a chance santorum can win. it's unlikely. it's going to continue for quite a while. there's been cycles of mitt romney doing well. and then the inevitably, headlines get written and then oost pop. >> jen, how about inside the white house, were he to lose on tuesday, does that mean they'll be celebrating in the white house? >> the expectations are high for him. he's the native son. he outspend santorum two to one. the longer this primary race
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goes on, the further the race goes to the right. and the more out of the mainstream the candidates' positions are, and that's good for the president. >> ladies, we'll come back with the big three. they're going to give us their big oscar picks for the academy awards tomorrow night. ok, guys-- what's next ? chocolate lemonade ? susie's lemonade... the movie. or... we make it pink ! with these 4g lte tablets, you can do business at lightning-fast speeds. we'll take all the strawberries, dave. you got it, kid. we have a winner. we're definitely gonna need another one. small businesses that want to grow use 4g lte technology from verizon. i wonder how she does it. that's why she's the boss. because the small business with the best technology rules. contact the verizon center for customers with disabilities at 1-800-974-6006. i toog nyguil bud i'm stild stubbed up. [ male announcer ] truth is, nyquil doesn't un-stuff your nose. really? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus liquid gels fights your worst cold symptoms, plus it relieves your stuffy nose.
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we are playing a scene there from the oscar nominated film "the artist." we're back with the big three. we're going to get to oscar picks in a moment. first time for rating the weeks. we're bringing back my guests. maggie, you're up first with best and worst week. who do you have? >> santorum had the worst week. he lost momentum. then by default mitt romney. >> and president obama basically
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got a free pass on the oil prices because the republicans were dauking it out. >> so best to president obama for you. jen, how about you? >> i'll mix it up a little bit. romney had the worst week. his expectations are very high into tuesday. he has more momentum. but the stakes are high for him. the best week, i would say still santorum. he hung in there. he doesn't have a real campaign. he dun have a lot of resources and he's still hanging in by his teeth. >> even after the debate you you pick santorum? >> i still would. it's still surprising he doesn't have a national campaign. he doesn't have a big campaign in michigan, and he's hanging in with momentum and supporters. >> are you still working for the white house? isn't that what they're trying to do? >> i'll say it. i'll add ron paul had a good week for staying relevant. >> it's all good. girls, we're going to move to the oscars. susan, i'll have you up first. what is your pick for best film?
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>> the only one i saw, but i thought it was really good is "money ball." a lot of buzz about that. the only thing is it's been out for a while. some other ones might have come along to eclipse it. but it was awesome. how about you, jen? >> i loved "money ball", too. but i saw "the artist" and it's so creative and you feek and so that's what i'll be rooting for tomorrow evening. >> there is something to be said for that, "the artist." it's great. how about you, maggie? do you have a pick. you didn't have a pick? do you want to choose between "money ball" and the "artist." >> i'm going to go with money ball based on the headlines and buzz. >> we're going to have to get together and take maggie out. you got to get out more, girl. >> get me a babysitter. >> we'll work on that. great to have all three of you on the big three. that's a wrap, everyone. on this edition of "weekends
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with alex witt". see you back here tomorrow at noon eastern time. up next, we have another msn msnbc docu-mystery. we'll give a preview of the academy awards. fun night in hollywood. lisa's new normal hi jamie. here's my activia video. love this stuff. i'm starting to feel a change no longer feeling slow. i can't believe i thought irregularity was my normal. now i don't miss a beat. activia helps with occasional irregularity, when eaten 3 times a day. i knew lisa would love her new normal. ♪ activia love your new normal and introducing silky, fruity activia harvest picks. one more way to enjoy activia.
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